Kansas City FilmFest: Celebrate 25 years of independent filmmaking with 165 cinematic features

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City FilmFest returns for its 25th year beginning on Monday, April 12 and running through Sunday, April 18. While the festival is virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, audiences can enjoy 165 films, a mix of features and shorts, narratives and documentaries, through a variety of pass options.

This year, the festival is offering something new and exciting.

FilmFest volunteers look forward to welcoming filmmakers to the festival and Kansas City. New this year, they will host filmmakers online via ZOOM, and FOX4 will show the first virtual meeting on this page and Facebook Thursday beginning at 4 p.m. It will also be available on the FilmFest’s social media pages where audiences can interact.

Filmmakers from around the world have signed up for a Virtual Check-In where they will be greeted by KCFFI volunteers, who will take their photos to post online, answer questions and speak with them about their films.

The later dates and times are available via KC FilmFest social media, and on this schedule:

  • Friday, April 9, 10 a.m.- Noon and 4-7 p.m. CT
  • Saturday, April 10, 10-a.m.- Noon

KCFFI is offering several pass options.

The majority of films will be available to stream online from April 12-18. A few feature films will be scheduled for one-time slots only. Those films will be marked as such on the schedule.

Films will be available to view online beginning Monday with a pass, through April 18.

To celebrate the life and contributions to the KC film community of Board Member Drew E. Burbridge, KCFFI is hosting several events in his honor, with more information to be announced.

More updates, panels, and schedule of live events will continue to be added on the Kansas City FilmFest’s website. Expanded in 2020, Audience Choice Award voting will be set up for people who have purchased a KCFFI film pass. Audiences will vote on Audience Choice Awards for Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Narrative Short, Documentary Short and Heartland Student.

More Special Features


Monday, April 12, 2021

North American Premiere of documentary FROM HELL TO HOLLYWOOD

Screened in real time online at 6:30 p.m. CT

Directed by Jon Kroll and Scott Templeton

Q&A immediately after showing with the Directors and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photographer Nick Ut, whose photo, “The Terror of War”, is credited with bringing an end to the Vietnam War. Nick was just 21 years old when he shot the photo. While the story of this photo has been told before, FROM HELL TO HOLLYWOOD includes exclusive interviews and never-before-seen photos from this seminal moment in history.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Kansas City Premiere of the award-winning feature documentary TRANSHOOD

Screened in real time online at 6:30 p.m. CT

Directed by Sharon Liese

TRANSHOOD, directed by Kansas City native Sharon Liese, will have a one-time only screening online, followed by a live panel with Liese and the cast. Filmed over five years in Kansas City, this documentary follows four kids – beginning at ages 4, 7, 12, and 15 – as they redefine “coming of age.” These kids and their families reveal intimate realities of how gender is re-shaping the family next door in a never-before-told chronicling of growing up transgender in the heartland. The film is a nuanced examination of how families tussle, transform, and sometimes find unexpected purpose in their identities as transgender families. Lighthearted and deeply moving, this story teaches us something new about being human.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

World Premiere of the feature documentary BOBBI JO: UNDER THE INFLUENCE

Screened in real time online at 6:30 p.m. CT

Directed by Brent Jones

Q&A immediately after showing with filmmakers and Bobbi Jo Reed.  BOBBI JO: UNDER THE INFLUENCE, the inspiring film shot in Kansas City, directed by Brent Jones.  It’s an honest testimony of addiction, and one woman’s discovery that the only way to save herself is to save others.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

HOLLER feature narrative from IFC Films

Screened in real time online at 6:30 p.m. CT

Directed by Nicole Riegel

Q&A immediately after showing with the director. In a forgotten pocket of Southern Ohio where American manufacturing and opportunity are drying up, a determined young woman finds a ticket out when she is accepted to college. Alongside her older brother, Ruth Avery joins a dangerous scrap metal crew in order to pay her way. Together, they spend one brutal winter working the scrap yards during the day and stealing valuable metal from the once thriving factories at night. With her goal in sight, Ruth finds that the ultimate cost for an education for a girl like her may be more than she bargained for, and she soon finds herself torn between a promising future and the family she would leave behind.

Friday, April 16, 2021

ELECTRIC JESUS feature narrative

Screened in real time online at 6:30 p.m. CT

Directed by Chris White

Q&A immediately after showing with the director. Starring Brian Baumgartner, Judd Nelson, Claire Bronson, Rhoda Griffis, Shawn Parsons, Andrew Eakle, Shannon Hutchinson, Wyatt Lenhart, Gunner Willis, Will Oliver, Caleb Hoffmann, Alan Wells. It’s the summer of 1986. Erik (Andrew Eakle) is the shy, quiet type—but far more passionate than most teenagers when it comes to God and rock-n-roll. His dream comes true when he is asked to run sound for his favorite band, 316—a Christian hair metal band made up of older kids from his church. After a blistering performance at a church camp talent show, 316 is introduced to a flashy Christian Rock promoter (Brian Baumgartner) with a plan to take the band on the road. Complications arise when a woebegone pastor’s (Judd Nelson) daughter, 16-year-old Sarah (Shannon Hutchinson), stows herself away in the band’s RV after a church performance in Alabama. Once discovered, Skip must keep recalcitrant Sarah along for the next couple of weeks on the road—which turns out to be plenty of time for the talented girl to emerge as the band’s muse, head-turning opening act, and Erik’s first love.

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